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Pat Allen, 4 February 1929 - 3 June 2013

If I’ve ever met a personification of the word ‘staunch’, I think it must have been Pat Allen. Over many decades, Pat was a linchpin of London Region CND and an indispensable part of the national CND office. 

Pat was born at the beginning of the Great Depression, and his family lived on or near the bread line for most of the decade. His father had lost part of a lung due to a gas attack during the First World War. His mother, who often told him of her recollections of that war, played a crucial part in forming his class consciousness. The British Communist party became one of his life-long commitments, and in 1954, he joined the staff of the World Peace Council, an international body aligned with the Soviet Union.

One of my clearest recollections of Pat is of a discussion at a CND gathering, at which he recalled, briefly but with great regret and passion, his participation (during national service in the RAF) in the British intervention in what is called the Greek Civil War (1946-49).

After his national service, Pat trained as a French teacher and became a translator (he gained a Final Diploma of the Institute of Linguists, in French). Pat later translated at the Vietnam war peace talks in Paris, and was broadcast telling the USA to go home. (He was translating for Nguyen Thi Binh, known worldwide as ‘Madame Binh’, head of the South Vietnamese communist delegation.)

He married Regine in 1955, and they had three sons, two of whom eventually went to live in France.

Pat became a teacher in England, and a devoted member of the National Union of Teachers – as well as of CND (the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament had begun in 1957).

In 1984, Pat was took early retirement after a heart attack and bought a canal boat (canal boats and steam engines were also long-time passions). He also became more involved with CND: its national council, London Region, and his local Hackney & Islington group. He was also active in many other campaigns.

His long-term co-worker David Polden, London Region CND worker, writes: ‘With all this Pat retained a dry sense of humour, a proof-reader’s eye and a burning sense of justice and hatred for the forces of evil in the world. He will be much missed!’

Pat’s family have asked for their gratitude to Kate Charteris to be recorded: ‘Without her help, things would have been so much more difficult.’

Milan Rai is a PN co-editor and former member of South Camden CND.